What Makes Physical Therapy Different

In some ways, going to physical therapy school is a lot like going to law school. A person who goes to law school doesn’t complete their academic training and walk out of school specialized in “divorce law” or “criminal law;” rather, they are prepared to sit for the bar exam after which they will choose a professional path to pursue. It is the on-the-job training that ultimately makes them skilled at their area of practice.

Physical therapists do the same. We go to schools that prepare us to pass our licensing exam. Once out of school and licensed, physical therapists can specialize in a myriad of areas of practice including pediatrics, geriatrics, home health, hospital in-patient including ICU, burn and wound care, public school therapy, specialized care for veterans, and professional sports physical therapy for everything from basketball to NASCAR –  just to name a few. In the words of my former professor, John Echternach, at Old Dominion University on the last day of class, “We have made you safe. Now go learn.”

How physical therapists practice is largely a result of this learning that occurs post-graduation and the venue in which they practice. All physical therapists have a common knowledge that was acquired in school, but after that, learning can be very diverse and practices can be very different. Most women’s health physical therapists would have a difficult time relating to the methods utilized by a school pediatric physical therapist and vice versa.

Here at Homer Physical Therapy, we are primarily soft tissue manual therapists. Manual therapists use their hands as the primary method of treating and affecting. The “soft tissue” part of the descriptor indicates our focus is on what the muscles and fascia are doing to alter or distort efficient movement as opposed to treating the bony joints as the primary culprit in movement or alignment problems.

Welcome to the new Homer Physical Therapy blog!

Homer Physical Therapy was established in 2003 with the goal of providing exceptional physical therapy, massage therapy and fitness training services, specializing in the treatment of complex conditions that are often challenging to address in our current health care environment of shortened appointments, over-reliance on intake forms, and disengagement of the client from the development of a plan of care. In getting Homer Physical Therapy off the ground, we developed a list of core values that we strive to operate from. Our entire staff is educated in these values and are challenged to incorporate these into every interaction with our clientele, each other and in our personal lives as purveyors of “health”.

Respect

This means communicating and behaving in a manner that conveys value of self, co-workers, environment and clientele including those individuals with alternative life-styles, varied ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and individuals with physical, emotional, or cognitive differences. Respect includes timeliness, neatness, clarity of personal needs, willingness to collaborate and compromise, and demonstration of honesty and integrity in all work tasks and relationships.

Knowledge

This means obtaining and maintaining a high level of familiarity and understanding of one’s particular job skills. This includes a curious quest of continued learning that can be fulfilled by every-day observation, collaboration, and self-reflection to complex, long-term learning processes such as continuing education or formal schooling. Knowledge includes appreciation of pattern recognition and realization that learning can be imparted from any source; at any time including the clients’ wisdom and understanding of self.  Knowledge includes judicious melding of evidence-based practice with clinical common sense and creativity.

Empowerment

This means imparting knowledge to transform one’s self or others. This includes providing knowledge in a manner that supports and meets the cognitive, emotional, and physical needs of the learner. We promote active learning and self-exploration.  Achieving a state of empowerment is a lasting value that is permanent with us and clients.

It is our goal that keeping these values in mind will result in a first class experience at Homer Physical Therapy.